Berfrois

October 2011

Perhaps distance is the only way of thinking about Feininger’s art…

Perhaps distance is the only way of thinking about Feininger’s art…

 Sunset at Deep (Sunset), Lyonel Feininger, 1930 From The Smart Set: It is difficult to look at a painting such as “Sunset at Deep” (1930) — which captures the stillness of the seaside moment in geometrical shapes, the white blazing sun low and strong on the rectangle of water...

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Dear National Geographic

Dear National Geographic

by Tamar Rothenberg American Iconographic: National Geographic, Global Culture, and the Visual Imagination, by Stephanie L. Hawkins, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 264 pp. What is iconic about National Geographic? From the ethnographic “types” displayed as such in the first half of the twentieth century, to the bare-breasted women...

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‘Five percent growth, five brownie points’

‘Five percent growth, five brownie points’

In Iceland the politicians promised to deliver 30 terrawatt hours of energy in an environmentally sustainable manner. So everyone immediately thinks, oh, that is scientific, rational and probably true.

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Yo Borges

Yo Borges

by Jon Beasley-Murray What does it mean to “read Borges”? What are we even endeavoring to read? “Borges” is a cipher: a proper name that stands in for a set of texts with which that name is associated. It’s a figure or speech or language, a form of metonymy:...

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Reverse Evolution

Reverse Evolution

From Jurassic Park, Universal Pictures, 1993 From Wired: People have told Jack Horner he’s crazy before, but he has always turned out to be right. In 1982, on the strength of seven years of undergraduate study, a stint in the Marines, and a gig as a paleontology researcher at...

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OOO

OOO

Sirius B by Tim Morton The world is teeming. Anything can happen. John Cage, “Silence” 1 Autonomy means that although something is part of something else, or related to it in some way, it has its own “law” or “tendency” (Greek, nomos). In their book on life sciences, Medawar...

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Mark Bevir: Marxism, Fabianism, Ethical Socialism

Mark Bevir: Marxism, Fabianism, Ethical Socialism

England to Her Own Rescue, Walter Crane, 1884 by Mark Bevir “We Are All Socialists Now: The Perils and Promise of the New Era of Big Government” ran a provocative cover of Newsweek on 11 February 2009. The financial crisis had swept through the economy, and the state had...

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Hackersklasse

Hackersklasse

From Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Production I.G, 2002 From SKOR: Any work, of art, of writing, in any media, if it is in the least bit interesting, becomes at some point an adventure. Usually, the adventure happens in the making, before the work is finished. “The...

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SATAN, n.

SATAN, n.

 Satan’s Treasures, Jean Delville,1895 From The Smart Set: There’s a connection between the Devil and the word that goes back to the original Greek diábolos, which means “slanderer” or “accuser.” Bierce knew all too well the demons that lurk in our language. He wrote that the cynic sees things...

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Demand/Duration

Demand/Duration

#occupywallstreet general assembly, Zuccotti Park, New York From Harper’s: The nightly meetings of the General Assembly at occupied Liberty Plaza (officially, Zuccotti Park) in New York have been treated by the media mainly as a quaint footnote to the mass arrests and alleged police brutality attendant to the occupation....

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‘A dancing pine tree, a surfacing sea monster, a wife splitting into sixteen pieces and reassembling’

‘A dancing pine tree, a surfacing sea monster, a wife splitting into sixteen pieces and reassembling’

From The Times Literary Supplement: Sometimes a person’s most fleeting glance, a throwaway comment, or simply their presence, can become fixed with significance, freeze-framed in the memory like a panel in a comic, there to revisit and linger over. The visual and verbal registers of graphic novels seem well...

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Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

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Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

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Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

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Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

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Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

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Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

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Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

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Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader...

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Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world....

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Sebastian Normandin
Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people...

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Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

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Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

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Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

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